Apple delays child protection features

Apple is set to delay the introduction of new child protection features which would scan users’ phones, following widespread media backlash over the announcement.

The features were initially set to launch later this year; however, Apple did not announce how long the delay would last or how significant the changes are set to be.

The feature would have compared users' iPhone and iCloud Photos against a database of known child sex abuse imagery before flagging matches to the relevant authorities.

A petition opposing the proposed feature by international non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Foundation was signed by over 25,000 customers.

In August, a group of more than 90 bodies wrote a letter to Apple chief executive, Tim Cook, calling on him to abandon any plans to “build surveillance capabilities into iPhones, iPads and other Apple products”.

“We have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” said an Apple spokesperson. “Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features."

“This is incredibly disappointing,” said Andy Burrows head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC. “Apple had adopted a proportionate approach that sought to balance user safety and privacy and should have stood their ground.”

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